Facebook Home pre-release APK leaked, works fine on Nexus 4

Turns out we don’t have to wait until April 12 to test-drive the Facebook Home. Paul at Modaco has posted the APK for Facebook Home (they are actually three APKs) to install on your Android phone. As this has been taken out from a pre-release HTC First ROM, it is quite buggy and Chat Heads don’t seem to be working.

Also, there is a specific set to requirements to runs this. It has been tested on Nexus 4, and if your Android phone satisfies the following requirements, you are good to go.

In order to use the leak, you need an Android device with a maximum resolution of 1280×768 and the ability to completely uninstall your existing Facebook app. This is important, as the leaked APKs are re-signed and can’t just be installed over the top of an existing installation. This will automatically exclude some devices which have Facebook installed in the base ROM.

You can grab the APK downloads from Modaco.com.

If you don’t want to get your hands dirty, the Facebook Home app is scheduled to be released in Google Play on April 12, which is just four days away. The app will initially be only compatible with select phones like HTC One X, X+, Samsung Galaxy S III and Note II.

Facebook Home to only support Android 4.0+ devices

When Facebook unveiled its new home-screen replacement app “Facebook Home” for Android, it skipped a small detail in the main announcement and even the press release. Apparently, Facebook Home is only compatible with phones powered by Ice Cream Sandwich and newer Android versions, the social giant revealed in Q&A following the event.

If your phone has Gingerbread or below Android versions, which are still present on about 45pc of total Android devices, you are out of luck.  Facebook did not reveal if it plans to expand the compatibility to Gingerbread, but it seems highly unlikely. Facebook is clearly planning for the future and in the next one year or so, Gingerbread and older versions will be out of the scene and we will have a majority of devices running on 4.0+

Set to be released in Google Play on April 12, Facebook Home will initially only support – HTC One X, One X+, Samsung Galaxy S III and Samsung Galaxy Note II, but S 4 and HTC One support will soon follow. Other Android devices with Android 4.0+ are expected to get Facebook Home support in the coming months.

Company is also not bringing the tablet support right-away; Android tablets are likely to get Facebook Home in the coming months.

 

Facebook makes ‘Home’ official, available beginning April 12

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg  took to the stage in California to announce their new home-screen experience for Android users called ‘Home.’ In simple terms, Facebook Home is like any other Android launcher that you have seen so far during your Android days with the soul of Facebook.

In Facebook’s words, it is a combination of multiple social apps by the company, to make the Android phones more people-centric and not app-centric.

Facebook Home is set to be released in Google Play on April 12 and will be initially available for select phones. These phones are HTC One X, HTC One X+, Samsung Galaxy S III, and Samsung Galaxy Note II, all of which are some of the most popular Android phones on the planet. The upcoming Samsung Galaxy S 4 and just released HTC One will be next in line to receive Facebook Home. Other Android devices will be getting ‘Home’ in the coming months.

This Android user-interface will not be available for Android tablets initially although Facebook is working on a tablet version, which is expected to be launched in the coming months.

“We asked ourselves ­if sharing and connecting are what matter most, what would your phone be like if it put your friends first? Our answer is Home. Home isn’t a phone or operating system, and it’s also more than just an app. Home is a completely new experience that lets you see the world through people, not apps,” Facebook noted in a press release.

Facebook Home features

Cover feed: It is the Facebook replacement of your Android lock-screen and home-screen. It is an image-centric version of Facebook newsfeed.

Chat Heads: It is a unified messaging feature from Facebook. It combines Facebook messenger and SMS

Notifications:  Information about stuff that is directly meant for you on Facebook.

Apps: A list of your favourite Android apps from your phone. You can add or remove as many you want. It can be accessed by swiping up the screen.

 

 

Watch Facebook’s Android event here [Live]

For those of you, who were living under a rock or something, Facebook is holding a press event in about an hour and will announce something related to Android. Thanks to all the leaks in the recent few weeks, we have some idea of what to expect today.

Here is a break-up of things, while you wait for the event to begin, which is scheduled for 1:00pm EDT — Thu Apr 4, 2013.  Live-stream below.

  1. Facebook Home: As per reports circulating around the web and all the leaks that we have seen so far, Facebook will be introducing “Facebook Home” today. It is a customised user interface (in simpler terms – launcher, doesn’t seem more than that) for Android. It will have Facebook integration ‘right in your face’ kind, allowing you to post, access, check-in or chat on Facebook from almost everywhere in the least number of steps.
  2. HTC First: HTC is also expected to make an appearance at the event and why not – because when you are showing off a user interface, you need a device. HTC and Facebook will most probably be announcing ‘HTC First’ smartphone at the event, which will be the first phone to come with Facebook Home interface.
  3. Information about other Facebook Home devices: Along with HTC First, Facebook is also expected to reveal information about other phones or tablets that will come pre-loaded with Facebook Home UI. According to reports, company has been in active talks with several other manufacturers and we might see results today, but we won’t really bet on it as HTC would not certainly like to see a competitor with it on the podium.
  4. Carrier Partnerships: For markets like US, every manufacturer needs active carrier partnerships to launch a device and successfully market it. Facebook and HTC also need such partnerships and we would ideally see at least one major telecom operator from the markets where Facebook Home powered HTC First is going on sale first.
  5.  

http://new.livestream.com/accounts/817005/events/1980369

Facebook Home UI screenshots leaked online

It is no secret that Facebook is going to unveil its Android home-screen replacement (or launcher) app – Facebook Home – tomorrow at a press event. The leaks have coming from all over and after the alleged press-render of the first phone to come pre-loaded with Facebook Home – HTC First, we have the first screenshots of this Android launcher.

As you can see in this image (more below), Facebook Home just seems like a Facebook-oriented launcher for Android. The social giant wants to completely take over home-screen of Android users with Facebook Home and aims to be in front and center.

EVLeaks, which has posted these screenshots at 9to5Google notes:

From the imagery we’ve seen, Facebook Home incorporates a minimal aesthetic with a lot of focus on full screen photography. As expected, there are hooks to the primary Facebook functions available from most menus, obviating the need to actually navigate to the dedicated app or site in many instances.

We will know more tomorrow, when Facebook showcases Facebook Home and HTC First smartphone. The phone is rumoured to come with 4.3-inch 720p display, dual-core processor, 1GB RAM, Android 4.1.2, Sense 4.5, 5MP rear camera, 1.6MP front camera, No SD Card, Bluetooth 4.0 and Wi-Fi a/b/g/n.

 

HTC First, the rumoured phone to feature Facebook Home, appears online

We have been hearing about the rumoured HTC built phone that is going to be the first device to feature Facebook’s upcoming home-screen replacement. Well, it is likely to be known as HTC First, and not Myst, which was earlier rumoured, and was probably an internal code-name.

As per the press renders shared by EVLeaks, HTC First will be available in four colour options – red, white, black and light blue.

In the earlier reports, we have heard that HTC First will come with a 4.3-inch 720p display, Qualcomm MSM8960 Dual-Core processor, 1GB RAM, Android 4.1.2, Sense 4.5, 5MP rear camera, 1.6MP front camera, No SD Card, Bluetooth 4.0 and Wi-Fi a/b/g/n.

The press event, where we are going to see the Facebook Home and HTC First announcements, is just over 30 hours away.

APK Teardown shows details about Facebook Home

More news is trickling in about the elusive Facebook Phone that will run Facebook’s mobile platform called Home and is supposed to be showcased at an event on April 4. It looks like the phone will be running Android 4.1.2 and HTC’s Sense 4.5 skin.

Android Police managed to get their hands on a system software dump from the device and conducted a tear down. The phone requires your Facebook credentials to work pretty much anything. Think of it as the Google or Apple login page that needs to be filled in while activating your Android or iOS device

.

Unfortunately, since the platform is still a pre-release, it required Facebook employee credentials to work. The lack of it means we will still have to wait for the event to get details about most specifications and features of the phone.

It does however look like the HTC-built phone, codenamed Myst, will allow for a super-customised Facebook homescreen that will be a slightly modified version of Android. The phone specifications according to the build.prop file confirms that it is a simply-built 4.3-inch sporting phone. HTC Myst will run Android version 4.1.2 and have HTC’s Sense 4.5 UI. Surprisingly, it does not have HTC’s latest Sense 5.

Myst is to have a 5 megapixel rear and 1.6 megapixel front camera to make video calls. The phone is supposed to be available only on AT&T when it is launched, with the potential of it expanding to other carriers around the world.

As far as Facebook Home goes, Myst is to have a version of the Facebook app that isn’t available anywhere else. While the package name for the regular Facebook app is “com.facebook.katana”, this one is called “com.facebook.wakizashi”.

There is a new set of permissions required to run the remade version of the Facebook app:

 

  • SYSTEM_ALERT_WINDOW – The Facebook app can spawn windows that stay on top of all other windows. According to the Android docs, “these windows are intended for system-level interaction with the user.”
  • DISABLE_KEYGUARD – It can turn off your lock screen.
  • RECEIVE_BOOT_COMPLETED – Facebook starts as soon as your phone starts.
  • GET_TASKS – The Facebook app can see what apps you have currently running.
  • CHANGE_WIFI_STATE – It can control your WiFi connection
  • WRITE_SETTINGS – It can change your system settings

Interestingly, there are a bunch of new permissions that allow Facebook to read the settings for the stock Android launcher, the HTC launcher and the Touchwiz launcher. It looks like Facebook Home is probably going to hit the Android Play store as a standalone app. Myst could well be a Facebook phone and not the Facebook Phone. Home could find its way to other Android phones, but as a milder version.

The layout XML and image files also indicate that Facebook Home will allow you to view your Facebook news stories, a standalone clock screen, search via a blue coloured Google app and will have shortcuts for launching apps. Another important feature discovered during the APK teardown shows something called “Chat Heads” that will have the ability to “pop out chat head”. Essentially, when you’re even within other apps, your Facebook chat notifications will remain above your screen.

Facebook Home is going to ensure a tighter integration of Facebook in the phone. While it could also be an app you can simply download from the Play Store, it could signal the beginning of a range of new phones that have an Android and Facebook marriage at the heart of it.